CARICOM No closer to solving regional transportation issues


Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders ended their 44th regular summit in The Bahamas on Friday, nowhere closer to solving the woes being experienced by regional travelers following the collapse of the intra-regional airline, LIAT, in 2020.

“It is an ongoing discussion we have mandated the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) to explore and to examine the current challenge that we have and to come up with some recommendations on how we can overcome the travel issue of intra-regional travel,” Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit told reporters at the end of summit news conference.

The Antigua-based LIAT (1974) Limited began shutting down in July 2020 following increased debt and the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The airline is owned by the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A downsized version of the carrier has been operating a reduced schedule with a limited workforce since November 2020.

The airline has scaled down its operations and is now servicing Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, San Juan Puerto Rico, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Maarten.

Skerrit told reporters the matter had been discussed during the summit and the leaders had received an updated report from the CDB.

“Amongst ourselves we have also discussed a number of actions we believe we can take in the immediate to help resolve the current challenge we have.

“The reality is we all miss LIAT in the Caribbean, an airline that was chastised by so many of us, but now we understand and appreciate the important public good LIAT espoused for so many decades and so we are looking at what kind of construct we can bring to play recognizing that there are existing companies that are servicing our islands,” he added.

Skerrit said the Caribbean countries are looking “at how we can work with those existing entities to seek to alleviate the current challenges”.

In his address to the opening ceremony of the summit on Wednesday, newly elected St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Terrance Drew said  CARICOM “stands at a cross roads” with myriad challenges including inadequate transportation within the region.

Drew said it is difficult for the Caribbean countries to extoll the virtues of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that facilities the free movement of goods, services, persons, capital and technology “without addressing the proverbial “elephant in the room” – intra regional transport.

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  1. Caribbean leaders…a big bunch of worthless do-nothing clowns. I personally invested heavily to send my children oversees to get qualified so that their future would not be dictated by these idiots.

  2. And then there will be another meeting when these boys decide they need to hub nobb and then we get the same result…and then there will be another meeting….

  3. Forget CARICOM let we focus on our small group of Islands called Easter Caribbean States. (OECS). Let’s make it work between ourselves. The bigger Islands have no appetite to support the small Islands in this venture. They don’t believe they need to pay for the small Islands people to travel. I think the Taxpayers of Antigua should take the risk and go it alone. But charge the people from the other Islands big time for the service. Only subsidize tickets for Nationals from Antigua and Barbuda. Since it is their Tax Dollars that keeps the airline in the air. We do not need any outsiders. And we hire only Nationals of this country. Throw the old LIAT in the liquidation dump and let things be what they are. We will run the airline how we see fit. Just like how they, Trinidad and Tobago, run Caribbean Airlines.

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